Vintage-inspired Kentucky real wedding is a little bit country, a little bit rock
As an undergraduate at Eastern Kentucky University, Jamie Speake knew her future husband first and foremost as Waldo.
Sure, she'd dated one of his fraternity brothers and he'd dated one of her sorority sisters, but it was Brian's notorious turn as a very famous children's book character one Halloween that had left the most lasting impression.
"He was always Waldo to me," Jamie, 24, remembers. "He was the guy standing alone in the corner at the Halloween party."
Brian Huybers, 22, hadn't just dressed as Waldo — he'd played the part, popping up in unexpected places, embracing the outsider image.
But it wasn't until a year and a half after that party that the two ran into each other at a mutual friend's birthday and really started talking.
There was something about Brian that made him stand out to Jamie right away.
"I saw what was different about him and I wanted that in my life," she says. "He's a musician and a psychology major and nerdy as all get-out. He was something special."
Brian was drawn to Jamie's independence and energy. "She's her own person," he says, "and I never felt like there was a dull moment. It was always exciting, even though we didn't do a whole lot."
While the couple didn't go on many candlelit dinners, they enjoyed every moment of their whirlwind, everyday romance.
"We were college students," Jamie says, "so we didn't do a lot of dating. We're both very easy to please, so we didn't make plans. And that's kinda how our wedding came to be."
After four months together, the two were engaged as naturally as they'd begun dating.
"I was moving and someone decided he would propose in the middle of helping me pack boxes," Jamie laughs. "My house was full of boxes; I'd just walked in from the garage. We were sweaty and gross."
"I'm the king of wonderful timing," Brian jokes. "We'd taken a break and I was just like, 'Hey, will you marry me?'"
But he certainly got at least one thing right: the ring. "It was vintage looking and it just screamed Jamie," he says.
They took their time planning their July 23rd, 2013 wedding, allowing all the details to fall into place naturally.
Settling on the venue was one of the toughest decisions, but not because Jamie couldn't find what she was looking for. In fact, she'd grown up going to the Ashley Inn in Bryanstville, Kentucky, a recently converted private residence from the 1800s, and knew it would make the ideal venue — but so had many of her friends.
"I fought it tooth and nail because so many people I knew were getting married there and I did not want to be one of those girls," Jamie admits.
Then it dawned on her that there were a million ways to get married in a place that beautiful: "I realized I didn't have to get married by the pond or under the gazebo, I could get married in front of the house." For the reception, she shook things up by seating all 115 guests out in the yard around the reflective pool and fire pit.
While the beauty of the Ashley Inn took care of a lot of the day's charm, the lovebirds still wanted to make sure the day felt appropriately funky.
The bridesmaids wore dresses with a hint of vintage to them, and accessorized not with heels, but with bright blue TOMS slip-ons. They also added an eclectic touch to the venue with a quilt sewn by Brian's mother which served as the guest book, and now hangs in the newlyweds' home.
"We made programs and the tablescapes, including the table numbers," Jamie says, "and we went around to vintage stores and antique shops and found these brass candle sticks, just tons and tons of brass."
They scattered the brass across the dining tables, along with three different types of flower arrangements and a major pop of electric blue from the table runners. To keep things light and playful, the pair also created fill-in-the-blank games for each guest to complete with their hopes and dreams for the newlyweds.
Staying true to the couple's freewheeling personality also meant embracing their Kentucky locale, as with their choice of live band. "We just saw them at a local pub one night and asked them to play at our wedding," Brian says. "They're blues meets funk meets rock and roll."
The big day's music was a big hit. "I just wanted to eat cake, eat some BBQ, have fun," Jamie says. "And we all had a blast on the dance floor. It was lots of our college friends, reliving our glory days."
The couple also sprinkled more than a few personal (and musical) touches throughout the ceremony, with the wedding march performed by Brian's best friend on the electric guitar and not one, but two pastors — Jamie's childhood pastor and Jamie's cousin.
"It was actually not a traditional ceremony," Jamie insists. "We took communion but then we also did the Irish wedding bells ceremony, which is technically pagan and something that had not been done within either of our families. We did the traditional vows, but also wrote our own that we read aloud."
The moment the couple exchanged vows is a vivid memory for Jamie, mostly because Brian's excitement over seeing her in that white dress rendered him a little disoriented. "He tried to say my 'I dos,'" she says, "and I had to put my hand over his mouth!"
"She was as gorgeous and beautiful as always, but it was just amazing to see her walking down the aisle," Brian said.
Jamie says her main priority was that the day be an honest reflection of the couple. So, rather than settle on a more traditional fine dining experience, they chose potato salad, pulled pork, green beans, and cornbread.
For dessert, they enjoyed a three-tiered wedding cake with a layer of red velvet, strawberry limeade, and vanilla.
Not to be outdone, the groom's cake was Guinness and Irish cream-flavored.
"We ended up with a day that was so perfect for our personalities," Jamie says.
For the bride, the biggest challenge was being relaxed. "I don't relax. Ever," she says. "And it doesn't sound like the most important thing, but for everyone around me to have a good time, I need to relax."
The most relaxing moment of the night came at the end, after most of the guests had left.
"I hiked up my wedding dress and sat on the dance floor," Jamie remembers, "and Brian and his best man played with the band."
The highlight of Brian's evening came even later, when the bride and groom were the only two people left.
"After I played with the band, Jamie and I just sat at one of the tables and were like, 'This happened.' It was the best day of my life and nothing else will ever change."
This article was originally published Aug. 24, 2014 at 8:16 a.m. ET.